Do you have some old, tired brass that needs a thorough cleaning — inside and out? Consider using an ultrasonic cleaning machine. When used with the proper solution, a good ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly remove remove dust, carbon, oil, and powder residue from your cartridge brass. The ultrasonic process will clean the inside of the cases, and even the primer pockets. Tumbling works well too, but for really dirty brass, ultrasonic cleaning may be a wise choice.
Our friend Gavin Gear recently put an RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning machine through its paces using RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). To provide a real challenge, Gavin used some very dull and greasy milsurp brass: “I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but it was gunked up with lube and looking dingy.”
UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):
Gavin describes the cleaning exercise step-by-step on UltimateReloader.com. Read Gavin’s Cartridge Cleaning Article to learn how he mixed the solution, activated the heater, and cycled the machine for 30 minutes. As you can see in the video above, the results were impressive. If you have never cleaned brass with ultrasound before, you should definitely watch Gavin’s 7.5-minute video — it provides many useful tips and shows the cleaning operation in progress from start to finish.
Ultra Dry Necks After Ultrasonic Cleaning — Some Suggestions
The Ultrasonic cleaning process gets cartridge brass so “squeaky clean” that increased force may be required to seat your bullets, or they may “grab” as they go in the necks. To reduce bullet-seating effort, you may benefit from adding a little dry case lube inside the case-neck before loading (use a nylon brush). Another trick is adding a teaspoon of Ballistol lube to the cleaning solution. That provides a trace lubricant inside the necks, but does not interfere with powder ignition in any way.
The RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine features a large 3-liter capacity, 60 watt transducer, and 100 watt ceramic heater. The RCBS ultrasonic machine can be found under $140.00, and this unit qualifies for RCBS Rebates ($10 off $50 purchase or $50 off $300.00 purchase). RCBS also sells 32 oz. bottles of cleaning concentrate that will make up to 10 gallons of Ultrasonic Solution.
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We asked a few Sierra Bullets bulletsmiths “What is your favorite ‘don’t know how you ever lived without it’ piece of reloading equipment?” Along with the not-so-surprising “reloading press” responses, there are some interesting answers, including a reloading room, an annealing machine, a comparator, and a home-made tool for detecting incipient case head separation. Check out all the answers below. We would love to hear from you too, please share your response in the comments below.
What Is Your Favorite Piece of Reloading Equipment?
Ballistic Technician Carroll Pilant answered: “Dillon 550 and 650 presses.”
Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz answered: “My universal decapping die is as handy as a pocket on a shirt.”
Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin answered: “A comparator gauge to measure from the base of a case to the ogive of the bullet. This bypasses the tip of the bullet, so I can repeat the same seating depth the next time I visit a specific combination.”
Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks answered: “I don’t know that you would actually call this equipment, but the item that comes to mind would be my reloading room. I had always had to squeeze everything into a corner or even an unheated shed. After we bought our current house, I built a garage and placed it so that I had a window looking down a 250-yard range. I built a dedicated room with heat and A/C. It contains my reloading bench and a shooting bench. The shooting bench lets me slide open the window and shoot down the range. It is very handy to not have to load everything up to go to the range. It also makes load development a lot simpler and efficient. I don’t know how I ever got along without it.”
Ballistic Technician Paul Box answered: “The Lee hand priming tool.”
Former Ballistic Technician Robert Treece answered “My homemade dental pick. I use it to check incipient case-head separations. We all see the ‘bright ring’ down close to the case head, that’s natural, but after several firings could be starting to split apart. You could start by just straightening out a paper clip; flattening one end; sharpening and turning it 90 degrees, then bend if about 1/8″ long will even fit all the way down into .204″ cases. On the other end, bend about 3/4″ to 90 degrees also, in the same direction as the pick. That will give you a handle and also ‘points’” in the direction of the pick as you scrape along the side wall from down inside at the bottom upward along the side wall. If the pick hooks into a crevice — DON’T TRY TO SIZE THE CASE. It will pull apart in your die.”
Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd answered: “A brass annealing machine.”
Production Toolsetter Brad Vansell answered: “Redding Ultramag single-stage reloading press for my rifle and my Dillon 650 for my pistol loading.”
Process Engineer David Palm answered: “Homemade case lube.”
Plant Engineer Darren Leskiw answered: “Beyond the normal equipment, I’d say my electronic scale. Using the beam balance for the past 9 years was ok, but nowhere as easy as using an electronic scale.”
There were many votes for the classic RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage press:
Ballistician Gary Prisendorf answered “RCBS Rockchucker Press, it’s built like a tank, and it will last me a lifetime.”
Production Manager Chris Hatfield answered: “RCBS single stage reloading press.”
Maintenance & Machine Shop Lead Craig Westermier answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker.”
Production Resource Manager Dan Mahnken answered “RCBS Rock Chucker! Buy one and it lasts a lifetime.”
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Last October, the legendary Jerry Miculek won the Trijicon Shooting Challenge at the Rockcastle Shooting Center. That impressive victory earned Jerry big bucks — a $50,000 grand prize. By any measure, that’s some serious cash — mucho dinero.
To celebrate his Trijicon Challenge victory last October, Jerry Miculek decided to do some pumpkin carving — with a .50 BMG Barrett rifle.
Shooting the 30-lb rifle off-hand, Jerry blasted some serious holes in Mr. Pumpkin. Needless to say, the results were dramatic, if somewhat messy. Advancing the science of terminal ballistics, Jerry (not surprisingly) confirmed that “the 663-grain bullet did manage to penetrate the pumpkin all the way.”
Jerry Miculek earned $50,000 as the winner of the 2015 Trijicon Challenge.
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To get the best accuracy out of any benchrest rifle, you need to find the optimal position of front rest and rear bag. The important point to remember is that each rig is different. One gun may perform best with the front rest right at the tip of the forearm (Position ‘D’ in photo), while another gun will work best with the rest positioned much further back. This Editor’s own 6BR sits in a laminated stock that is pretty flexy in the front. It shoots best with the front rest’s sandbag located a good 6″ back from the forearm tip (position ‘A’).
Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Many benchrest shooters spend a fortune on equipment and devote countless hours to meticulous handloading, but they never experiment with their rifle’s position/balance on the bags. This article explains why you should test your rifle in various positions. What you learn may surprise you (and improve your scores).
Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.
This competitor has the front rest positioned fairly far forward but not all the way out. Note the stop on the front rest — this limits forward stock travel.
Balance Your Gun BEFORE You Spend Hours Tuning Loads
In the pursuit of ultimate accuracy, shooters may spend countless hours on brass prep, bullet selection, and load tuning. Yet the same shooters may pay little attention to how their gun is set-up on the bags. When you have acquired a new rifle, you should do some basic experimentation to find the optimal position for the forearm on the front rest, and the best position for the rear bag. Small changes can make a big difference.
Joel Kendrick, past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has observed that by adjusting forearm position on the front rest, he can tune out vertical. He has one carbon-fiber-reinforced stock that is extremely rigid. When it was placed with the front rest right under the very tip of the forearm, the gun tended to hop, creating vertical. By sliding the whole gun forward (with more forearm overhang ahead of the front sandbag), he was able to get the whole rig to settle down. That resulted in less vertical dispersion, and the gun tracked much better.
Fore/aft stock position is important even with very wide fore-ends.
Likewise, the placement of the rear bag is very important. Many shooters, by default, will simply place the rear bag the same distance from the front rest with all their guns. In fact, different stocks and different calibers will NOT behave the same. By moving the rear bag forward and aft, you can adjust the rifle’s overall balance and this can improve the tracking significantly. One of our shooters had a Savage 6BR F-Class rifle. By default he had his rear bag set almost all the way at the end of the buttstock. When he slid the rear bag a couple inches forward the gun tracked much better. He immediately noticed that the gun returned to point of aim better (crosshairs would stay on target from shot to shot), AND the gun torqued (twisted) less. The difference was quite noticeable.
A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs. You should experiment with the forearm placement, trying different positions on the front rest. Likewise, you can move the rear bag back and forth a few inches. Once you establish the optimal positions of front rest and rear bag, you should find that your gun tracks better and returns to battery more reliably. You may then discover that the gun shoots smaller groups, with less vertical dispersion. And all these benefits are possible without purchasing any expensive new gear.
Billed as “a gun show that you can shoot at”, Shockwave In The Desert takes place October 29 and 30 2016 at the Cowtown Range in Peoria, Arizona. The first Shockwave In The Desert was held in 2013 and drew 400 visitors. Now the unique Shockwave gathering has become one of the largest “hands-on” shooting events in the Western States. The third Shockwave In The Desert is expected to draw more than 1,500 attendees. Firearms fans turn out in droves for the chance to try out new firearms, including many select-fire machine guns.
Shockwave In The Desert will take place on Saturday, October 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, October 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Cowtown Range is located at 10402 W. Carefree Hwy, in Peoria. Parking is free.
View Highlight Reel from 2015 Shockwave in the Desert Event: (NOTE: Loud Gunfire Sounds)
The event is open to the public. You can pre-order tickets at $10 for 1-day access or $16 for a 2-day pass. Admission on event day will cost $15 per person with no discount for multiple days.
Shockwave Line-Up of Hands-On Firearms Demonstrations
Bay 1: Mr. Silencer / Desert Design Development LLC (D3LLC)
Bay 2: AZ Armory / American Spirit Arms
Bay 3: Full Time Open Shooting Bay
Bay 4: We Plead The 2nd / KE Arms – Full Auto Rentals
Bay 5: Apex Tactical / Broken Arrow Tactical Training
Bay 6: Independence Training / KE Arms / Mini Gun
Long Range: Independence Training
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Right now Precision Reloading is running a BIG SALE on Sierra MatchKing (MK) and Tipped MatchKing (TMK) Bullets. These bullets are being offered at deep discounts, with very low prices (some close to wholesale). Precision Reloading says you can save up to $37.00 on 500-ct boxes. Here are just a few examples of the dozens of types of Sierra Bullets on Sale.
Sierra 30 Cal, 200gr HPBT MK, 100 for $35.57 (marked down from $40.29)
Sierra 7mm, 183gr HPBT MK, 100 for $38.37 (marked down from $43.39) (Great new bullet)
Sierra 6.5mm, 142gr HPBT MK, 500 for $167.74 (marked down from $187.69)
Sierra 6.5 mm, 130gr TMK, 100 for $30.58 (marked down from $34.59)
Sierra 6mm, 95gr TMK, 500 for $138.75 (marked down from $156.89)
Sierra 22 Cal, 80gr HPBT MK, 500 for $117.08 (marked down from $132.39)
Sierra 22 Cal 77gr TMK, 100 for $26.19 (marked down from $29.69)
NOTE: This Sierra Bullets Sale runs through October 31, 2016, so you’ll want to place your order before the end of the month.
Sierra offers the widest selection of .30-Caliber match bullets in the world today, producing bullets suited to nearly every form of long-range competition. Along with classic HPBT and HP MatchKings, Sierra now offers the new Tipped MatchKing (TMK) line, which feature an acetal resin tip. The major advantage of adding a tip to the bullet is the reduction of drag, producing a more favorable ballistic coefficient. Another benefit is improved feeding in magazine-fed firearms.
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Earlier this month the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) held its annual 200/300 Yard Score Nationals at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The event was attended by 40 shooters from the Mid-Atlantic states. Despite sometimes tricky conditions the IBS competitors produced impressive results. Wayne France shot a great match to win the Grand Agg with 497-14X as well as take top honors at 300 yards (249-6X). Steve Hill won the 200-yard stage with a 250-10X, not dropping a point even in challenging conditions. Finishing a close second in the Grand Agg was bullet-maker Allie Euber with 497-11X. Third overall was Jim Cline with 496-10X.
TOP TEN Grand Aggregate Results
IBS 200/300 Yard Score Nationals, South Carolina, Oct. 14-16, 2016
Report by Paul Hammer, IBS Editor
I attended the 200-300 Yard IBS Score Nationals this year, being held for the first time at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The Mid-Carolina Club is a well-established, multi-discipline shooting facility that offers Benchrest matches, as well as other types of rifle, pistol, skeet, and trap shooting. The well-designed Benchrest facility at the club is fairly new.
The Mid-Carolina Gun Club Benchrest range featured 20 benches, with a new and very nice covered area. There is plenty of room for the competitors to “set up shop” for reloading and do gun maintenance between relays. The Benchrest area even has its own office for weighing in the guns etc., and its own restrooms. The Benchrest area also has a modern PA system that permits the range officers to run the match safely and efficiently.
The Mid-Carolina Gun Club offered 20 concrete benches, sheltered from the sun.
Mother Nature provided extra nice southern weather for everyone for the entire weekend, except for some persistent and tricky winds to keep the shooters on their toes. Friday was the first day of this exacting Benchrest shoot that gave the competitors time for practice and to set up the wind flags before the Saturday 200-yard event. And Saturday’s conditions proved that the wind flags would be necessary!
Shifting Conditions on Saturday Challenged Shooters
Saturday morning started out with lots of erratic shifting winds which tested the competitors’ wind-reading skills. The winds did subside later in the day, but not much, and after each relay shooters were talking about the one or two that “got away” from them.
Benchrest Score shooting is all about trying to “hit the dot” on 25 separate bullseye targets over five relays. The center “dot” is only about 1/16th of an inch in diameter, and if you hit it, the hits score an “X” for you. Perfect scores of 250 are the goal of top competitors in this exacting rifle competition. Hits on the Xs are what break the ties.
IBS Score Benchrest shooting is fun for young and old alike….
Most score rifle shooters usually use a co-axial (Joystick-type) front rest that enables them to rapidly position their rifle for each shot, moving from target to target quickly and precisely.
“Blonde on Blonde” — Here’s a lovely blonde maple stock resting in a custom light-colored wood cleaning cradle box. Handsome gun, nice workmanship on the cleaning box.
Rifles for Score Benchrest are usually built especially for the sport. The 30 BR is by far the most popular cartridge for this discipline. The 30 BR’s larger-diameter bullet hole gives the shooter a scoring edge over a 6mm or smaller caliber. Though the 6PPC is “King of the Hill” in group matches, the larger-caliber 30 BR rules the roost in Score competition.
Mr. Ronnie Long is one of the leading developers of the 30 BR and also an excellent riflesmith. Ronnie showed up Saturday morning for the match to see many of his friends. It was good to see him at the match! It is not surprising that many of the competitors use his rifles. I would also mention that the 30 BRs that Ronnie crafts are really works of art. Ronnie’s custom-built rifles display precision metal and beautiful stock work (many have exotic paint jobs), and of course they are very accurate!
Sunday’s 300-Yard match concluded the tournament. The competitors really seemed to enjoy this match, which gave them the opportunity to pursue perfection in shooting, and to learn from others. Many thanks to the Mid-Carolina Gun Club, whose members assisted with the targets and cooked some great meals. The Mid-Carolina Club proved an excellent host facility, delivering a well-run match and excellent meals for the competitors.
The Mid-South Club in South Carolina hosted this year’s 200/300 Score Nationals.
If you’d like to try out the sport of Benchrest shooting then you’ll be welcome to join us at any of our matches. The IBS offers a variety of rifle-shooting disciplines: Group BR Matches, Score BR Matches, Mid-Range Matches, and Long-Range Matches. It’s a great way to learn a lot about rifle shooting and meet some nice folks too!
For complete match results from the 200/300 Nationals, visit the IBS Website. You’ll find full individual results, plus a full equipment list. Shown below is the the Top TEN equipment list (click to enlarge).
TOP TEN Equipment List — CLICK to VIEW Full-Screen:
While some competitors shoot, others reload — that’s the nature of the short-range Benchrest game.
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This profile of a talented young female shooter was so popular when we first ran it last year, we decided to re-publish Sydnie’s story for those who may have missed it the first time. Believe it or not, young Sydnie won the first rifle match she shot, competing as an 8-year-old against adults. She now holds an NRA F-Class “Master” Classification. Here is her remarkable story…
Sydnie Lipski has grown up surrounded by the shooting sports in Michigan. Her father, Alan Lipski, is a gunsmith who began teaching her about rifles and shooting when she was just 3 years old. By the time she was 6, she had already started varmint hunting. At just 8 years of age, Sydnie won her first rifle match, competing against adults in an F-Open event. A year later, at 9 years old, Sydnie fired her first perfect score of 200-11X.
She also earned her Expert Classification. She ended the season in second place for the IOSCO Sportsmen Club’s 3×600 Grand Aggregate. Now 12 years old, Sydnie now holds a “Master” Certification. She may be one of the youngest F-Class “Masters” in the nation. The specs for the rifle in the photos are listed below. However, Sydnie now has a new rifle, custom built to fit her.
Rifle: Custom 6XC built by Alan Lipski with blue-printed Model 700 Remington action.
Barrel: 1:8″-twist, 6mm Bartlein.
Stock: Custom wood stock by Alan Lipski.
Load: Norma brass, H4831SC powder, Tula primers, and Berger 6mm 105gr Match Hybrid Target bullets.
Alan reports: “Bergers are very forgiving and extremely accurate!”
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Hodgdon and IMR powders, including H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 4451, are some of the most successful propellants used by competitive shooters. If you want to find solid, reliable load data for these and other Hodgdon and IMR powders, we recommend you go right to the source — visit the Hodgdon/IMR Reloading Data Center, at www.HodgdonReloading.com. There you’ll find the latest, updated load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders.
In the Data Center, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is now faster and easier to use. Navigation is simplified and the whole interface is more user-friendly.
Precise Search Results for your Cartridge and Favorite Powders
The online Reloading Data Center allows you to get precise search results for any listed cartridge. You can select your preferred powders and bullets. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.
Data Center Works Well with Mobile Devices
Mobile users will notice Reloading Center is very “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use. Likewise the results are displayed in a large, easy-to read format.
Hodgdon tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Midsouth — 500 Rounds .22 LR Ammo with Sightron Scopes
Here’s a very attractive offer for rimfire shooters who are in the market for new optics. Right now Midsouth Shooters Supply is offering 500 rounds of Norma Tac-22 .22 LR ammo FREE with the purchase of qualifying Sightron scopes, which start at just $299.99. This Norma ammo is good stuff — very reliable in both bolt guns and auto-loaders. Sold separately, the 500 rounds of Norma ammo would cost you $62.58. The qualifying scopes are listed below; note that a variety of reticle options are offered for many of these models.
SII 36x42mm BRD
SIII 8-32x56mm LR
SIIISS 8-32x56mm LR
SIII 10-50x60mm LR
SIIISS 10-50x60mm LR
2. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs, $37.43
Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $37.43, with free Prime Shipping. This is good deal — these NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category. See All Price Options. NOTE: For regular, sustained shooting we recommend muffs and/or earplugs with a higher NRR rating.
3. Southern Shooters — 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire
With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for Prairie Dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. We think every shooter should have a rifle in this rimfire chambering. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. That’s right, Southern Shooters is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire, with 22″ barrel, for just $252.63. FFL required. For other vendors with this rifle, CLICK HERE.
4. Natchez — .45 ACP Ammo, 300 Rounds for $69.99 with Rebate
The .45 ACP is probably our favorite centerfire pistol cartridge. It is reliable, inherently accurate, and makes big, easy-to-see holes in paper. Here’s a good deal for .45 ACP shooters. Sportsmans Outdoor Superstore is selling 300 rounds of American Eagle .45 ACP 230gr FMJ ammo for $99.99 in a handy plastic ammo can. And with factory rebate, you can knock thirty bucks off that price, so your net cost is just $69.99! Through the end of 2016, Federal Ammunition is offering $30.00 cash back on this ammo. CLICK HERE for Rebate Form.
Fine Print: Maximum of $30.00 rebate. Purchase must be made before December 31, 2016. Coupon must be received by January 31, 2017. Consumer submits coupon with UPCs written and original cash register receipt and/or dated itemized sales invoice (photocopies not accepted). Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.
5. Amazon — Motorola Walkie Talkies, $48.98 per Pair
Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola MH230R Two-Way Radio is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios. This under-$50.00 set offers 22 channels with a claimed range up to 23 miles (We’ve used them and they worked at 3 miles line of sight). The kit includes: 2 radios, 2 belt clips, 1 dual drop-in charger, 1 charging adapter, 2 NiMH rechargeable battery packs. Run-time is about 10 hours — plenty for a full day of shooting. There is also a newer version, the Motorola T260 for $58.99.
6. Midsouth — 17 HMR V-Max Ammo, $10.45 for 50 rounds
Need 17 HMR ammo for your varmint safaris? Then grab this Hornady V-Max ammo while you can at $10.45 for a 50-round box. This is a great price. Other vendors are selling the same Hornady ammo for as much as $15.00 per box. We’ve used this ammo and it was very accurate out of both semi-auto (Savage A17) and bolt-action (CZ 455) 17 HMR rifles.
7. Monmouth Reloading — 500 Lake City 5.56 Cases, $49.99
500 pieces of Lake City brass for under fifty bucks? Yep, that’s good deal for anyone who needs lots of .223/5.56 brass for varmint safaris and tactical comps. Monmouth Reloading is selling genuine, once-fired Lake City 5.56x45mm brass, thick-walled and sourced direct from the U.S. Military. Monmouth reports: “Our current stock of Lake City 5.56 looks to be all newer year Lake City head stamp but may contain a small percentage of other NATO headstamps. Lake City is a popular, reliable brass, normally capable of many reloads.” Monmouth includes 1% overage to account for any damaged brass. NOTE: Brass has crimped primers, so the pockets will need to be reamed or swaged prior to reloading.
8. Amazon — Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, $7.58 for 50 Pairs.
These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.
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The new Leupold Thermal Optics (LTO) Tracker is a hand-held, heat-detection device designed as a multi-purpose hunting tool for game observation and game recovery. A high-performance thermal spotter, the LTO Tracker can detect heat sources out to 600 yards. The advanced thermal imaging engine fires up in less than three seconds and offers fast 30hz frame rates.
The hand-held unit features a 20-degree field of view and 6x digital zoom. Five different thermal filters provide multiple viewing options. The LTO’s CR123 lithium battery provides more than 10 hours of continuous use. A user-controlled reticle allow the user to quickly pinpoint a game animal or other thermal source. MSRP for the LTO Tracker is $874.99.
Use LTO Thermal to Track Animals and Guide your Hunt
From checking your ingress path to your stand, to helping track wounded animals, the LTO Thermal can perform many tasks. Hunters can use the LTO Tracker to spot their quarry’s heat trail and efficiently recover the downed animal. Using the LTO Thermal, hunters can also plan their walk to their stand or blind with minimal risk of scaring off game. Where legal, varmint or feral hog hunters can use the LTO Tracker to identify their quarry, leading to more successful hunts.
“We see thermal as a vital tool in any hunter’s kit, just like binoculars or laser rangefinders,” said Tim Lesser, vice president of product development for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “For observation and recovering downed game, the LTO Tracker will help hunters find success in the field.”
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Here’s some good news for owners of 1903 Springfields, 1903A3s, M1 Garands, and M1 Carbines. The CMP sells brand new chrome-moly barrels for these rifles for $190.00 or less. These authentic-profile barrels are made by Criterion Barrels in Richfield, WI, using the button-rifling process. They are “semi-finished” meaning they come chambered and headspaced within .010″ of finished size, with final fitting to be done by a competent gunsmith. The barrels are also externally Parkerized to match the finish of your vintage ’03, Garand, or M1 Carbine. To order, go to the CMP eStore and click the Barrels Link in the upper left.
New 1903 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903 Matches. Parkerized like the original 1903 and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.
New 1903A3 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903A3 Matches. Parkerized like the original 1903A3 and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.
New .30-06 Garand barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc. 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Comply with CMP Competition Rule 7.2.4 (6) and are legal for the Garand Matches. Parkerized like the original M1 and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions. Barrel is .30-06.
New .308 Win Garand barrels by Criterion Barrels, 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Parkerized finish and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions. NOTE: Barrel is chambered for .308 Winchester.
New Carbine barrels by Criterion Barrels, 4140 chrome moly Steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Comply with CMP Competition Rules and are legal for the CMP M1 Carbine Matches. Parkerized like the original M1 Carbine and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and head-spaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions. Barrel is .30 Carbine.
NOTE: For all barrel types, assembly and headspacing by a qualified gunsmith is required.
Credit Forum Member Boyd Allen for finding this CMP Barrel Special
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The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) has been a big hit. Since its introduction in 2015, this modular rifle has become the top-selling, tactical-style bolt gun in the USA. And now RPR owners have a new trigger option for their rifles. Timney Triggers has just released an affordable drop-in, two-stage RPR trigger. We expect many RPR owners will choose to upgrade their rifles with this new trigger, priced at $219.95 MSRP for either curved or straight trigger shoe. The trigger comes pre-set with a 1.5-lb total pull with one pound in the second stage. Timney is now taking orders for the RPR trigger via TimneyTriggers.com.
These triggers are crafted with advanced production methods. For example, the sear is wire EDM-cut and then Teflon-nickel coated.
Here is Timney’s Product Description for the New RPR Trigger:
The new Timney RPR trigger is a self-contained, 100% drop-in trigger ready to install in your Ruger Precision Rifle for an exceptionally smooth, crisp, two-stage trigger pull. No gunsmithing, fitting, or adjusting required.
The pull weight is factory-calibrated for a half-pound first stage and a one-pound second stage. The first stage is user-adjustable from 1/2 pound to one pound and the second stage is user-adjustable from 1/2 pound to two pounds. The trigger is offered in straight and curved trigger shoe models.
The trigger housing is constructed of military-grade, 6061 T6 alloy that is CNC-machined using state-of-the-art robotics and is anodized for superior durability. The trigger is also CNC-machined, heat-treated and coated. The sear is wire EDM cut, heat-treated to 58-60 Rockwell and Teflon-nickel coated for lubricity and dependable, long-lasting service life.
Timney RPR Trigger Review on Shwat.com
The folks at the Shwat.com blog got their hands on an early-model Timney RPR trigger. In a detailed review, Shwat.com’s testers showed how to install and adjust the new trigger, and then put it through its paces. Timney’s new RPR trigger earned high praise: “The Ruger Precsion Rifle … factory trigger is excellent and well-suited to most uses. But if you are accustomed to the feel of a more traditional trigger, this Timney is your ticket. Excellent, reliable, consistent and repeatable — it has the same precision feel and operation you expect from Timney. Installation is simple and easy with no special tools needed.”
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Are you looking for a .22 LR Rimfire rifle that has the look and feel of a centerfire rig? Then check out the CZ 455 rimfire rifle featuring a black-finished, laminated wood stock. This gun, dubbed the Varmint Tacticool Suppressor Ready by CZ-USA, features a 5-round detachable magazine and adjustable trigger. It comes with a short 16.5″ barrel with threaded muzzle for easy installation of a “can” (suppressor or sound moderator).
The original CZ-455 Varmint Tacticool was built as an affordable tactical trainer with the ergonomics and stock profile of a full-size centerfire tactical rig. The Tacticool’s stock looks similar to the Manners Composites stock on CZ’s 455 Varmint Precision Trainer, but the wood-stocked ‘Tacticool’ version is much less expensive. The CZ 455 with Manners stock retails at $940.00 MSRP while the latest suppressor-ready ‘Tacticool’ model lists for $549.00 MSRP. The $391.00 you save will buy a lot of ammo (or a scope).
We like the looks of the CZ-455 ‘Tacticool’, and the stock has some nice features. The butt-hook stock has ambidextrous palm swells on the grip and a raised comb to provide a comfortable cheek weld for shooting with a scope. The fore-end features a wide, beavertail swell for greater stability on a front sandbag. There are two (2) sling swivel studs so you can attach both a sling and a bipod.
Twin-Barrel CZ-455: Shoot .22 LR and 17 HMR with Same Rifle
CZ also offers a versitile twin-caliber CZ-455. The CZ-455 American Combo comes from the factory with two (2) fitted barrels, one in .22 LR and the other in 17 HMR. This effectively gives you two rifles for not much more than the cost of a .22 LR rig. And the 17 HMR cartridge really extends your effective range on varmint hunts.
Switching barrels is easy — simply remove the two action screws to release the barreled action then loosen two set screws that retain the barrel. No need to worry about headspace — the barrels are pre-fit and drop-in. The video below shows how the barrel exchange system works.
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This is one amazing .50-caliber rifle. Along with the lever-actuated falling block, it has a massive swing-out breech block like you’d find on a field artillery piece. The action is so wide that the sights and scope are offset. You’ve heard of the “Beauty and the Beast”? Well here the Beast IS a Beauty….
View looking down at the action from above. Note the hinged Breech-Block.
A quality borescope is a pricey tool, but once you get to use one, it’s hard to imagine how you ever did without it. To learn how a borescope can help you diagnose barrel issues, you should read a Rifle Shooter magazine feature story, What the Eye Can See.
In this article, writer Terry Wieland explains how to inspect for defects in new barrels, how to recognize different kinds of fouling (in both barrels and brass), and how to spot throat erosion in its early stages. Terry uses a Gradient Lens HawkEye BoreScope. The current generation of HawkEyes can be attached to a still or video camera to record digital images of your bore. The most interesting part of the article is on the second page. There, author Wieland provides photos of various types of internal flaws that can appear in barrels. This will help you spot pitting, excessive land wear, rust damage, and damage from corrosive primers.
Wieland notes that BoreScopes aren’t just for barrels: “The borescope has other uses as well. It can be used to examine the interior of a cartridge case to look for the beginnings of a case separation or to examine the interior of a loading die that is giving you trouble. When you consider the number of tubular objects that play such an important role in rifle shooting, it is a wonder we were ever able to function without such a method of studying bores.”
This Gradient Lens video shows how to correctly borescope your barrel:
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Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Recently the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of cartridge run-out and what can be done to produce straighter ammo. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed smart methods for improving concentricity, even with budget=price dies. For other hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.
Minimizing Runout with Standard Seating Dies
This USAMU article explains how to set up standard bullet seating dies dies to minimize Total Indicated Run-out (TIR). The loading process is described using a single-stage press since most handloaders have one. A high-quality run-out gauge is essential for obtaining consistent, accurate results.
Having sized, primed, and charged our brass, the next step is bullet seating. Many approaches are possible; one that works well follows. When setting up a standard seating die, insert a sized, trimmed case into the shellholder and fully raise the press ram. Next, back the seating stem out and screw the die down until the internal crimping shoulder touches the case mouth.
Back the die out ¼ turn from this setting to prevent cartridge crimping. Next, lower the press ram and remove the case. Place a piece of flat steel (or window glass, which is quite flat) on the shellholder and carefully raise the ram.
Place tension on the die bottom with the flat steel on the shellholder. This helps center the die in the press threads. Check this by gently moving the die until it is well-centered. Keeping light tension on the die via the press ram, secure the die lock ring. If one were using a match style, micrometer-type seating die, the next step would be simple: run a charged case with bullet on top into the die and screw the seating stem down to obtain correct cartridge OAL.
However, with standard dies, an additional step can be helpful. When the die has a loosely-threaded seating stem, set the correct seating depth but don’t tighten the stem’s lock nut. Leave a loaded cartridge fully raised into the die to center the seating stem in the die. Then, secure the stem’s lock nut. Next, load sample cartridges and check them to verify good concentricity.
One can also experiment with variations such as letting the seating stem float slightly in the die to self-center, while keeping correct OAL. The run-out gauge will show any effects of changes upon concentricity. However, this method has produced excellent, practical results as evidenced by the experiment cited previously. These results (TIR Study 2) will reproduced below for the reader’s convenience.
First, however, let’s examine run-out figures of some factory-loaded match ammunition. This should give readers who are new to TIR gauges some perspective about the TIR ranges one might encounter.
TIR Study 1: 50 rounds Lake City M852 Match 7.62mm
(168 gr. Sierra MatchKings)
0.000” – 0.001” = 2%
0.001” – 0.002” = 30%
0.002” – 0.003” = 16%
0.003” – 0.004” = 22%
0.004” – 0.005” = 14%
0.005” – 0.006” = 14%
0.006” – 0.007” = 0%
0.007” – 0.008” = 2%
TIR Study 2: 50 rounds of .308 match ammo loaded using carefully-adjusted standard dies, vs. 50 using expensive “Match” dies from the same maker.
Standard dies, TIR:
0.000” — 0.001” = 52%;
0.001”– 0.002” = 40%;
0.002”– 0.003” = 8%.
None greater than 0.003”.
Note: both samples were loaded using the O-Ring method, i.e. with a rubber O-Ring placed under the locking ring of the Full-length sizing die to allow that die to float.
These tips are intended to help shooters obtain the best results from inexpensive, standard loading dies. Especially when using cases previously fired in a concentric chamber, as was done above, top-quality match dies and brass can easily yield ammo with virtually *no* runout, given careful handloading.
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Bullet Proof Samples offers 12-count packs of big-name bullets. This lets you try out many different bullet types without forking out big bucks for larger 50-ct or 100-ct boxes. Currently, Bullet Proof Samples offers projectiles from Barnes, Berger Bullets, and Nosler. The sample packs range in price from $5.99 (for 22-cal varmint bullets) to $17.49 (for a .30-Cal Barnes LRX). The Berger Bullets sample packs run $6.99 to $10.49, with the larger 7mm and 30-cal bullets at the upper end of the range. On a per-bullet cost basis, it’s still much cheaper to purchase a “normal” 100-ct box, but the sample packs let you “test before you invest.”
Berger’s Michelle Gallagher tells us: “We receive frequent feedback from shooters who are looking for bullets in small pack quantities so that they can test different bullets without the expense of buying full boxes. Bullet Proof Samples… has done an exceptional job of addressing that concern. Bullets are packaged in blister packs, so they can be clearly seen. Each pack contains 12 bullets. They offer Nosler, Barnes and Berger in a variety of weights and calibers. Bullet Proof Samples is not a Berger Bullets LLC company, but we are supportive of their efforts[.]”
Story idea by EdLongrange.
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Nosler has introduced a new line of RDF™ (Reduced Drag Factor) bullets that feature very high BCs, hybrid-type ogives, and tight, factory-closed meplats. Based on initial specs, Nosler’s new RDF bullets should be very competitive match projectiles for their respective bullet weights. Nosler claims its new RDF bullets have “the highest BCs and smallest, most consistent meplats of any hollow-point match bullet line on the market.” RDF projectiles will be initially offered in four calibers: .224, 6mm (.243), 6.5 mm (.264), and .308.
NEW Nosler RDF Bullets:
· 22 Cal 70 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.416 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.211
· 6mm 105 grain — BC field verification in process
· 6.5mm 140 grain — BC field verification in process
· 30 Cal 175 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.536 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.270
High-BC RDF Bullets Feature Compound (Hybrid-type) Ogive Profiles
Nosler designed RDF bullets to have very high BCs for flatter trajectories and reduced wind drift. Nosler achieved high BCs by adopting a modern hybrid-type compound ogive, which bridges traditional tangent and secant bullet shapes. Another benefit of the compound (hybrid-type) ogive, is that this shape is normally less sensitive to bullet seating depth than a pure VLD-style, secant ogive shape. That allows hand-loaders to seat off the lands and still get excellent accuracy, which can be maintained even as the throat moves out over time. RDF bullets also feature a long boat-tail for aerodynamic efficiency.
Factory-Closed Meplats — No More Trimming and Pointing Tips
Compared to conventional match bullets, Nosler’s RDF bullets look quite different because the tips have been tightly closed up at the factory. Nosler claims a a 40% average reduction in meplat size vs. conventional hollow-point bullets. With Nosler doing the work on the tips, hand-loaders no longer need to point and trim tips, a laborious task done to improve BC and, more importantly, to make BCs more consistent for every bullet in the box. Consistent BC translates to reduced vertical spread at long range.
John Nosler Talks about RDF Bullets:
“Long-range competitive shooting [is] one of the fastest-growing shooting activities in the world, and quality bullets are the cornerstone of the sport” said John Nosler, Executive V.P. for the company. “Our engineers were challenged with delivering a bullet that would drastically reduce aerodynamic drag and increase ballistic consistency, providing shooters with an indisputable advantage. What we achieved is a leap in match bullet technology….”
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With the success of the King of 2 Miles (KO2M) event and the growing popularity of extreme long range shooting, we’ve seen an increased interest in really big cartridges for really long range. One such wildcat cartridge is the 300 Raptor pioneered by Kirby Allen. This monster magnum can launch a 230gr bullet at 3350 fps. That delivers some serious ballistics at extreme long range.
Kirby Allen of Allen Precision Shooting, www.apsrifles.com, has developed a .30-caliber, jumbo-sized magnum wildcat cartridge. The powerful 300 Raptor (center in photo) is based on Allen’s 338 Excalibur parent case (far right in photo), necked down to 30 Cal with shoulder moved forward to increase case capacity. Allen states: “This is the largest capacity and performance .30 caliber magnum on the market that can be used in a conventional sized receiver.”
Shoot 200s at 3600 fps
Performance of Allen’s new 300 Raptor is impressive. Allen claims that “200gr Accubonds can be driven to nearly 3600 fps, 230gr Berger Hybrids to 3350 fps, and the 240gr SMK to right at 3300 fps. These loads offered case life in excess of 6-7 firings per case and many of my test cases have over 8 firings on each case so they are not an overly hot load showing the potential of this big .30 caliber.”
To showcase the new cartridge, Allen built up a prototype rifle with a McMillan A5 stock, Raptor LRSS Action with extended tenon, and a Jewell trigger. The first 300 Raptor Rifle is currently on its second barrel, a new 30″, 3-groove 1:9″-twist Lilja in a custom APS “Raptor Contour”. This distinctive dual-fluted contour runs full-diameter almost to the end of the stock, and then steps down and tapers to the muzzle, where a beefy Medium 3-port ‘Painkiller’ Allen Precision brake is fitted.
Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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